Yesterday I made soup for our Trivia Nite at Zion. It was chicken noodle and if I do say so myself it was pretty great. But I will also have to say that it violated the new sodium guidelines put forth in a recent report by the federal government. In that report we hear the sobering statistic that the average daily intake of sodium in this county is 3400 mg. They are recommending that for people over 51 it should be no more than 1500 mg, and nobody should be getting more than 2400 mg. Huh.
That’s all well and good, but let’s face it…salt is what makes food taste good. Like my crowd pleasing chicken noodle soup; which was hardly shy on the salt. And then there’s the essential sleeve of saltine crackers that accompany any good bowl of soup. If I want bland food I can order a guest tray when I visit my people in the hospital!
Apparently Jesus understands this. In Matthew 5:13 he says that “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” As salty Christians we flavor the world around us because there is nothing bland about the gospel. We’re not supposed to blend into our surroundings. We’re to have a distinctiveness that leaves people wanting to know more about what makes us distinctive. It’s just like that great dish for which you ask someone the recipe…you want to re-create its great flavor for yourself.
Jesus moves a little further with this theme by saying in verse 14 “You are the light of the world.” Without salt and light we would have a very dark and tasteless world. Who couldn’t use a little more salt and light in his or her world? Lucky for those of us who are in the age range for whom limiting salt is most essential…we don’t have to get our salt from our diet. We get it from being disciples. We get our light from the Christ in whom we abide…the true light that came into the world.
Recently I met with a group of clergy colleagues and we brain-stormed about ways to unite our congregations and offer some new programs. One of us suggested that what we are trying to do was offer “something more.” He went on to offer the example that although he is now retired, he is serving as an interim because he wanted “something more” in his life. A little more salt and a little more light is the something more for which we all search. And the more we have, the more we will have to share.
We are called to be bridge builders in this world. We help others to move from the world which we create for ourselves into the world God creates for us. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind” ( Lk 4:18). We do that best as salty Christians. Pass me the salt, please!